5 best individual performances in Carolina Panthers history

(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton
(Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith /

Which Carolina Panthers players have produced the greatest individual performances in the organization’s 26-year history?

With over 25 years of franchise history, Carolina Panthers fans have seen plenty of spectacular individual performances. From legendary players like Cam Newton and Julius Peppers to less-heralded members of the roster such as DeShaun Foster and Chris Gamble, there’s a fair share of players who have had unforgettable performances.

Football is often called the “ultimate” team sport. But there’s still a huge thrill that comes from watching players individually take over a game.

Even in losing seasons, each year seems to bring new memorable performances from key players wearing a Carolina jersey.

Last season we watched in awe as rookie defensive back Jeremy Chinn nab two fumble recoveries for touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings. In 2019, in the midst of his All-Pro season, we watched Christian McCaffrey torch the Jacksonville Jaguars for 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.

Those are just some of the more recent eye-popping individual performances in the over 300 games the Panthers have played.

Without further ado, here are five of the best individual performances in Panthers history.

Performance No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) Steve Smith /

Steve Smith – Former Carolina Panthers WR

  • January 10, 2004 at St. Louis Rams

Arguably the best individual performance of his legendary career, Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith torched the St. Louis (now LA) Rams for six catches, 163 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

This game will always be remembered for that “one” touchdown that came in overtime of the NFC Divisional Playoff round. The feisty Panthers rode the momentum from their win in St. Louis all the way to Super Bowl 38, where they fell just short against the New England Patriots.

As for Smith, this was just the beginning of gutsy performances that would define his career.

Just two seasons later, the two-time All-Pro had an even better divisional-round game statistically against the Chicago Bears. However, Smith’s performance against the Rams is widely considered his “breakout” game, and who doesn’t love a walk-off touchdown in overtime?